Is Financial Stress Impacting Your Health?
- Tracy EastBy
November 1, 2017
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Did you know that nearly half of Americans say their expenses are equal to or greater than their income? When expenses exceed income, it is a huge cause of financial stress. According to a report by SunTrust Bank, 46% of employed Americans said they typically run out of money between paychecks.
Having financial stress may also affect your health. Many people with financial stress skip going to the doctors or refilling prescriptions. Financial stress can also cause other health issues such as increasing your chances of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, hair loss, depression, insomnia, gum disease and more.
The two most common health effects of financial stress are anxiety and depression. Health issues caused by stress can lead to more serious illnesses, so you want to address them as quickly as possible. Worrying about your finances will not solve the problem but there are practical steps you can take to reduce your financial stress. Here are some helpful tips to get you started addressing your money stress.
Address Financial Stress
- Identify your financial stressors. You may have a high credit card balance or you may be lacking an emergency fund. Whatever is causing your stress, it’s important to recognize it and then create a plan to address it. If you feel like the list is long and overwhelming, consider listing the three biggest financial sources of stress so you can focus on those areas first, without the pressure of feeling like there are too many areas to focus on.
- Come up with a plan to pay down your debt as quickly as possible, and then focusing on creating a financial cushion with savings will help you get on track. If you need help coming up with a plan for managing your debt, a credit counselor can walk you through a financial assessment and help you identify the solutions that best fit your unique situation.
- Be realistic and set goals that you can reasonably achieve. Taking small steps is key! Identify a few SMART goals and then focus on meeting those goals.
- Review your budget and your expenses, taking care to evaluate things you’re not using or areas that can be adjusted to help you reach your financial goals. You may consider reaching out to your creditors and see if they have any promotions available that will help you meet your debt obligations at a lower cost. Don’t be afraid to evaluate your insurance rates, your cable TV or internet plans, your cell phone plans and other items that can creep up when we aren’t paying attention.
- Stick to your budget, it’s not always easy, so remember to forgive yourself if you slip up, but don’t give yourself an excuse to throw in the towel and stop budgeting altogether.
- Remind yourself of what you gain by reaching your goals. You’ll certainly have less financial stress, but you may have other tangible things to celebrate like a down-payment saved for a house or car, an emergency fund saved, the ability to make regular contributions to your retirement savings…the sky is the limit when you put your efforts to work!
If you are experiencing financial stress and are looking for a solution, non-profit credit counseling can help you make sense of all your options. Contact us today for a free financial assessment with one of our certified credit counselors.